Ronald Weinland, the contentious religious figure who predicted the end of the world, was handed down a lengthy sentence after being charged with several tax law violations.
The “Doomsday Prophet,” who gained a strong following in his native Kentucky, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for failing to pay income taxes for a number of years. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves also fined Weinland $7,000 and ordered him to pay $245,176 in back taxes.
Weinland was convicted of tax evasion in back in June after he failed to pay taxes on $4.4 million in income between 2004 and 2010. He was able to temporarily hide income through the use of foreign bank accounts and by lying on tax forms. In addition, evidence revealed that he wrote off a number of personal expenses as church expenses. Weinland also appeared to live a luxurious lifestyle, filling his closet with designer suits and clothing and billing several trips to Las Vegas to the church.
Further, Judge Reeves noted that Weinland lied during his trial about his use of Church funds. For example, he used church donations to pay for his son’s education, but purposely misclassified it as a scholarship. Further, he used church funds to purchase his son a BMW, cover his daughter’s living costs and send his wife on luxurious vacations.
Despite the crimes, Judge Reeves said he received correspondence from more than 600 followers around the world, many of them requesting leniency and saying that Weinland is a generous person who would help them out financially during periods of financial hardship.
“It is easy to be generous with other people’s money,” Reeves said, according to Cincinnati News.
The 63-year-old must report to prison on January 2, 2013.